Rob Whitfield and the No. 14 Blue Dragons take on Cloud County in the opening round of the Region VI Tournament at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Sports Arena. (Allie Schwexier/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Rob Whitfield and the No. 14 Blue Dragons take on Cloud County in the opening round of the Region VI Tournament at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Sports Arena. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Game Information


No. 14 Hutchinson (25-5) vs. Cloud County (6-23)
Region VI Tournament Opening Round

When: Thursday, March 1, 2018

Where: Hutchinson Sports Arena

Game time: 7:30 p.m.

Live Radio: KHUT-FM (102.9), 7:20 p.m.

Videostream: Blue Dragon Sports Network, 7:20 p.m.

Twitter: @bluedragonsport

Tickets: Reserved: $8; General Admission - $6; Students (K-8), $5

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

If there was one negative to winning the 2017 NJCAA national championship, it was the fact that the Hutchinson Community College Men's Basketball team didn't win the Region VI Tournament.

The Blue Dragons look for the program's 19th regional championship and return to the NJCAA national tournament for a fourth-consecutive year. That journey begins on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Sports Arena as the Cloud County Thunderbirds will play Hutchinson in the Region VI Tournament opening round.

The 14th-ranekd Blue Dragons are 25-5 overall and are the tournament's No. 2 overall seed. Cloud County, a 6-23 is the 15th seed.

The game will be broadcast live on Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and on sister stations KWBW-AM/FM (1450/98.5) with Glen Grunwald (play-by-play) and Rusty Hilst (analysis) calling the action beginning at 7:20 p.m. The game will also be videostreamed on the Blue Dragon Sports Network beginning at 7:20 p.m.

Thursday night will be the seventh postseason meeting between Hutchinson and Cloud County, the first since a quarterfinal matchup in 2013. The Blue Dragons are 6-1 against Cloud County in the regional tournament.

After being upset by Allen on February 21 in Iola, the Blue Dragons have been stellar defensively in victories over Independence and Dodge City. Over those two games, the Dragons have allowed 54.5 points and a defensive field-goal percentage of 26.7 percent.

The Thunderbirds have dropped 12-straight games and are 6-23 overall all, 4-22 in the Jayhawk Conference this season. Cloud County lost 79-68 at Independence on Monday Night.

Hutchinson and Cloud County have split games this season.

The Thunderbirds knocked off then-No. 1 Hutchinson 82-79 in overtime at the Thunderdome in Concordia on November 15. Soloman Finley had four 3-pointers and 18 points to lead Cloud in that game. Sophomore J.J. Rhymes scored 38 points in the rematch, a 95-63 victory by the Blue Dragons on January 20 at the Sports Arena.

The Blue Dragons averaged 86.5 points per game offensively and allowed 70.7 points defensively through 30 regular-season games. Hutch shoots 47.2 percent overall, 35.6 percent from 3-point range and 70.9 percent from the foul line. Defensively, opponents are shooting 37.4 percent overall and 29.8 percent from long range.

Rhymes continues the lead the league in scoring at 20.3 points per game. Devonte Bandoo is second in scoring at 16.2 points. James Rojas his third at 9.8 per game.

Cloud County is averaging 70.1 points offensively shooting 40.4 percent overall and 30.4 percent from 3-point range. Defensively the Thunderbirds are allowing 77.5 points per game. Opponents are shooting 42.1 percent overall and 30.8 percent from 3-point range.

Ramion Burt Jr., is the T-Birds top scorer and rebounder at 13.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Alvin Thompson is at 119 points per game.

The Hutchinson/Cloud County winner plays the Independence/Northwest Tech winner at 7 p.m. on Sunday in the Region VI Quarterfinals at Hartman Arena in Park City.